13 December 2010
When all else fails when it comes to inspiration, there's nothing better to get the creative juices flowing than reading a good book. If you're anything like me, then I bet you find yourself sometimes rewriting a scene in your head, or maybe changing the ending of a story that didn't quite satisfy you. The thing with any story is that there is always more you can add. Maybe something at the beginning to explain a bit of back story, or perhaps the middle section needed a little something extra to draw out (or speed up) the plot. Perhaps you had a favourite character that didn't get enough page time, or maybe you think a character acted a little differently than expected and you feel a little tweaking could improve things.
You may find yourself completely rewriting the worst book you have ever read, thinking that anything would be better that what was on the page. On the other hand, perhaps you have a favourite book that you loved so much that you wished it would never end. Maybe a sequel is needed, eh? *winks*
No matter what, reading something, whether it's good or bad, usually makes your brain tick over. There are a number of reading options you could choose if you wanted to wake up your Writing Mojo.
Pick A Favourite - Always a good bet, this one, because being a favourite probably means you have read the book (or books) several times, so it's like slipping on a pair of comfy old slippers. I usually find that picking up my dog-eared copies of the Potter books, or The Lord of The Rings for example, really relaxes me, and feeling relaxed is half the battle when it comes to writing. If you are stressed out, chances are you are going to end up staring at a blank page instead of filling it with lots of lovely words.
Pick A Favourite Author - Similar to picking a favourite book, this has all of the same advantages, but if you can find a book that you haven't read yet, then it has the added bonus of engaging your mind. You'll probably find yourself working out the storyline without realising it, and this is good exercise for those little Plotting Cells that are maybe being a wee bit idle at the moment due to lack of inspiration.
Go For Something Different - This is a 50/50 thing really, because it's highly possible that you won't enjoy the book and you'll end up feeling dissatisfied. But - and this is a big but! - if you are lucky, you will be pleasantly surprised and may find yourself really enjoying your new discovery. This one worked for me in a major way last year and led to me writing my first complete novel (yes, it still needs editing, but the main story is complete). I've always leaned towards fantasy-based books for the most part, and had been trying to write the same genre for my first novel. On a whim, I picked up a bunch of chick-lit books one day, and although they will never be my first choice for reading material, I thoroughly enjoyed them and ended up writing a chick-lit for last year's NaNoWriMo.
So reading not only brings pleasure, extends your vocabulary, and is just generally an excellent thing to do, it can also give you that little push that you need to work on your own projects. Reading is brilliant! Reading is fabulous! Reading is fandabbydosy!
But hey, you already knew that, right?
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